Uniform Guardianship Law being considered for adoption in VI

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One of AARP Virgin Islands most recent advocacy projects involves helping community opinion leaders and local legislators to appreciate the importance of adopting the national Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, also known as UAGPPJA.

In a nutshell, the legislation would establish three very basic legal premises that would be recognized by all other states who also adopted the UAGPPJA. First, it would determine which court has jurisdiction over a guardianship case. Next it would create a system where courts could communicate and formally recognize one state’s guardianship orders by another state or, in the Virgin Islands, territory. And, lastly, this new law would facilitate interstate transfers of guardianship cases when travel between jurisdictions would benefit the person under guardianship.

While many of us may feel that such a law seems straight forward and clear, history has proven that it isn’t. Too many times, some of the most vulnerable, incapacitated adults have become victims of battling family members wishing to exploit guardianship solely to gain control of the incapacitated person’s estate.

Like the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, that preceded UAGPPJA, the law will recognize and protect the legal rights of the parent or guardian, providing legal consistency from one jurisdiction to another.

AARP VI feels that enactment of this law will help to prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation as well as help expedite medical care unavailable within the territory to be rendered without having to “re-establish” legal guardianship in the new jurisdiction.

During a two-day event, AARP VI first trained key AARP volunteers on the topic and then on the following day educated the President of the 30th Legislature, a key Judge, attorneys from the public and private law sectors and officials from the Department of Human Services. All agreed that the adoption of the UAGPPJA will prove invaluable to the residents of the Virgin Islands, our legal system as well as  to others from other jurisdictions planning to interact with the territory.

Be sure to check back often for updates on this and other important AARP issues. If you have a specific question please feel free to email AARP VI at: viaarp@aarp.org. If you would like to learn more about AARP check out this video: YouTube Preview Image

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